Following a strong response to free home blood tests offered by the NHS during this year’s National HIV Testing Week, a leading testing expert is calling for similar events to be held for a raft of potentially serious diseases.
It’s believed the success of National HIV Testing Week may be the tip of the iceberg. Expanded testing could help detect currently undiagnosed illnesses in many thousands of people, saving the NHS millions of pounds by detecting problems early.
As many as 4,400 Brits may be living with undiagnosed HIV, but millions more of us have other undiagnosed illnesses, from diabetes to leukaemia,
A similar focus on other conditions could help catch many cancers and conditions such as hepatitis and diabetes at an earlier stage. Taken early, fingerprick tests can identify everything from thyroid problems (which can cause mood disorders and weight issues) to high cholesterol levels (which can lead to strokes and heart conditions). By gaining an earlier diagnosis, many thousands of people would start treatment for their health issues sooner, leading to better outcomes and reducing the strain on NHS services.
Increasingly, health experts believe that blood tests could lead to a healthcare revolution, identifying many conditions even before symptoms arise, leading to faster, timelier treatments.
Dr Quinton Fivelman PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory, said:
‘As the successful home HIV fingerpick test campaign proves, a simple blood test can potentially save thousands of lives. A wide range of heart, liver and kidney conditions can all be detected early by taking a simple at-home test, that can be delivered through the post.’
Almost two-thirds of the British population are overweight or obese and close to one million people are living with undiagnosed diabetes. Obesity costs the NHS an estimated £6.1bn a year to treat. It’s a major cause of diabetes, cancer, heart conditions, painful joints and other health problems. A simple home test could tell people if they are close to or currently affected by this manageable condition. These blood tests are widely available.
Photo: London Medical Laboratory